Brian Brizuela was born in Manassas, Virginia and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. His mother originally from Guatemala and his father from El Salvador, both immigrated to the USA shortly before Brian was born. Brian was raised surrounded by Hispanic culture and music, including Bachata, Merengue, Cumbia and Salsa. His love for dance and music was evident from a young age. During his teenage years, he discovered a love for various styles of Hip-Hop dance, which continue to influence his unique style and creativity. Through Hip-Hop, he also found his passion for choreography. Prior re-discovering Latin dancing, Brian was a member of a local Hip-Hop crew that performed at events in North Carolina and battled other dance groups in the area. In late 2015, Brian met Ellie, his current dance partner, at a local Latin dance social, and became immediately interested in learning different styles of Latin dance. Since beginning his Latin dance education, he is well-versed in the technique of Dominican “traditional” bachata, Salsa and Mambo. However, he found his true passion for Bachata after discovering the unique style of Daniel and Desirée (Spain), as well as Korke Escalona and Judith Cordero (Spain) – the creators of Bachata Sensual.
Elizabeth “Ellie” Marie was born and raised in Sacramento, California to an Italian-American family. Ellie’s mother introduced her to Latin dance at a young age since she trained to be an instructor before Ellie was born. As a young girl, Ellie was taught Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata, surrounded by the rich Hispanic culture in California, where she quickly learned to speak Spanish. As a child she immersed herself in various styles of dance and art, including jazz and gymnastics, and musical theater. It was not until 2014, after her family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and when her mother was re-inspired to learn Latin dance, that Ellie took her first Salsa class in Durham, North Carolina. Her passion for different styles of Latin dance grew quickly, and she began to train exclusively with Jose Paredes in “traditional” Dominican Bachata and Mambo, and in 2015, began to assist Jose in teaching classes and creating choreography. After meeting her partner, Brian, at a Salsa social, they were inspired to learn different styles together and take classes from various instructors in the area. Ellie’s knowledge of Dominican Bachata and Mambo strongly influence her technique and musicality. She discovered her love for Sensual Bachata with Brian when they began training with Kat Arias in Washington D.C. She has been inspired by the feminine sensual styles of Desirée Guidonet, Judith Cordero, and Andrea Cobos Gomez from Spain. She is preparing to graduate in the spring of 2019 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studies Exercise and Sport Science, Hispanic Studies, Portuguese and Italian.
Since beginning their partnership in late 2015, Brian and Ellie have trained with numerous reputable instructors in various Latin styles, including but not limited to Jose Paredes, Norberto “Betto” Herrera, Annie Velez, Jenny Geska, Kat Arias, Jose Serrano, Vladi Aragon and Carla Capo. Their passion for Sensual Bachata has been inspired by the technique of Korke and Judith (Spain) and the ambassadors of Bachata Sensual. In May of 2017, they began teaching their first weekly group class at Aura Studio, expanding on the fundamentals of bachata and introducing sensual style and technique to the Raleigh Latin dance community. In 2018, they travelled to Madrid, Spain where they immersed themselves in the culture and style in order to improve their social dancing technique. That same year, they competed as members of Ferocity Dance Company under Kat Arias at the Ultimate Latin Dance Championship and at the World Latin Dance Cup as an Amateur Bachata couple, placing in the Top 3 at both competitions. They are best known for their musicality, fluidity, and connection. By continuing to grow within their local community and to expand their style as dancers, performers, and instructors, they hope to connect individuals of various cultures and backgrounds across the world through dance.